Nokia 770 Internet Tablet Thoughts


I got the word late last night this was coming, but still it was a surprise to me to see the details this morning of the Linux-based Nokia 770 "Internet Tablet". MobileBurn has a bunch of details. I think it's neat, but lots of thoughts are coming fast and furious, might as well just get them out there, stream of conciousness style:

Linux? Is Nokia really ready to support yet another OS? Just because it's Linux and "open" doesn't mean it's an automagic success. Underneath it may be "all the same", but Maemo is yet another platform for developers to target. Though I do like that it's running Debian/Gnome, remember what happened when Sharp launched their Linux based PDA? The world yawned and ignored them.

What's the difference between a "tablet" and a PDA? This thing sure looks like a PDA. I mean, a pen!?!? You've got to be kidding me. The most popular devices lately are those with little keyboards. Pens are so mid-90s. Dear Nokia: Welcome to the Read/Write Web, if I can't post to my blog easily from a device, it's useless.

Why no cellular connectivity? WiFi and Bluetooth are nice and all that, but Nokia's expertise is in mobile. Why go backwards?

No hard drive and no support for any cards with decent sized memory (i.e. SD Cards). RS-MMC maxes out at 512MB or maybe 1GB soon. That's not enough. They have a picture of someone listening to the 770 - I guess ostensibly for the "Internet Radio" support. Dear Nokia: Welcome to the wonderful world of iPods and podcasting. If I can't time-shift my media, it's useless to me.

How fast is a TI 1710 OMAP (ARM based) processor? It better be like a 400Mhz XScale or better, otherwise it'll be anemic and underpowered for what it's intended to do.

Where is Nokia going to sell this thing? It's not like Nokia has any direct relationships with retail outlets - especially here in the U.S. where a device like this would seem to be more popular (we have more WiFi than anywhere else). Nokia's customers are the carriers, without them they have no access to the consumers.

$350? Has Nokia seen the PDAs that are out there now for much less than that? A half-VGA screen is nice, but you can get PDAs powered by Windows (with lots of software already out there) with QVGA screens that flip on their sides for half the price.

230g is pretty hefty, no? Palm's new LifeDrive with a 4GB hard drive inside only weighs 190g.

Actually, now that we're comparing this thing to a LifeDrive, I'd say that the Palm device wins hands down - smaller screen and more expense and all. Of course it does! Palm makes the best PDAs, period. PDAs themselves are dying fast, but once you step into that world, you're competing with some established players. It would take years for Nokia to get to the level of software support that Palm has now. Though it seems that Nokia wants to make a device where you don't really need to install much (the 770 will come with a news reader), a new platform is a new platform.

Okay in summary: I like the idea of Linux (especially Debian), I like the screen size and the general focus of the device. I don't like the lack of decent storage, the missing cellular connectivity and the weight.

You know I'll end up buying one eventually though, right? :-)


Update: I had another thought as well: If Sony or someone just publishes a Web Browser, Email Client and RSS reader for my Sony PSP, it'll pretty much obviate the need for this device as well...

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